Wasteland: 2000 to 2010

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WASTELAND 

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Introduction  by Josselien Meijs

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If you dare to be different…if you are without prejudice….if you love living on the edge…if exploring your wildest fantasies makes you tick…

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Up to the point when fetish party Wasteland celebrated its very first edition in a regular club in Amsterdam, the fetish scene was still confined to the not widely accessible, and therefore somewhat elitist underground.  Now, 15 years later, Wasteland is the epitome of a fetish extravaganza. Wasteland has become a household name even for the less outspoken, yet open minded, nervy thrill seekers.

In 1994, the very first Wasteland immediately made its claim to fame.  A bridge was built connecting two mainstream (heterosexual) clubs in the predominately gay district of Amsterdam. This bridge proved to be a groundbreaking initiative superseding the literal sense.  Gays, straights, transsexuals, fetish, aficionados and a “regular” club crowd, to whom this was ALL new, found each other in a exhibitionist orgy of sexuality.  The images of this uninhibited demonstration of defining one’s sexual identity ignited global controversy.  They made headlines and caused enough upheaval for Dutch politicians to put it on the political agenda.  Did banality defy morality?  To debut with such a buzz in a known liberal country is, especially to Dutch tolerance standards, quite an achievement.

But Wasteland was set up with a far simpler (or nobler) intention than causing a riot: making sexual experimentation – which, in a consensual setting, would contribute to a healthy sexual make up – reality for all.  Allowing people to develop their sexual persona in a safe environment without any social and cultural restrictions.  So far, the threshold put up by the underground scene had excluded many people to experience this adventure.

For some Wasteland is just an exciting dance party with an eclectic mix of beautiful people, freaky characters, gory acts, dirty deeds and burlesque fun (where else is a kinky karaoke serous business?). For others, including myself, Wasteland has proved to be much more than that.  Whatever its meaning may be, Wastelands quality of tongue-in-cheek and self-mockery versus grand spectacle caused many to dub Wasteland “the Superbowl of Fetish”.

Acclaimed photographer Tony Ward has, over the years, been able to capture the quintessence of Wasteland.  His portraits of characters that frequent “the land of sin” speak for it. Freaks, extraverts, introverts, laymen, veterans, average Joe’s finally unite due to the one big thing they have in common at Wasteland: an open mind, free of prejudice.  We thank TW for documenting this unique phenomenon.

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Wasteland. Publisher: LaMusardine, Paris.

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Click here to access next galleryhttp://tonyward.com/early-work/digital-montage-2010/